Thursday, August 23, 2012

If I Hear That One More Time ...

Ever find yourself asking that question? I do. All the time. And I'll tell you usually what it has to do with: language and vocabulary.

I know slang is (unfortunately) a huge part of our vernacular because of social media, and music, and trying to be cool and all. But here are three things I can't stand to hear. And if I hear them once more, it will be way too soon.

Epic: As in, "that was a WAY epic bike ride I had." Okay. Epic needs to be reserved for one thing: books. As in, the category of book that has a zillion pages, and takes about three years to read. Epic this. Epic that. If everything is so Epic, why haven't we transcended to heaven yet? I'm sick of it. Stop using it. Try incredible or stupendous, or outstanding. Even the old standbys of amazing, or great will suffice. Epic is overused and overwhelming the air waves, radio and television waves. It's also so very 2012. Don't date yourself.

Love on somebody: Holy Mackerel. Since when did love, a verb mind you -- an action, a doing, a doing something toward someone -- ever not become a verb? I'm not sure of my grammar here, but when did love need a "helper" to show that you are loving someone only if you love "on" them? I'm going to scream if I hear this again. We love people, we love coffee, we love cream in our coffee. We don't love ON our coffee. PLEASE, people. Stop using this faddish verb/adverb conjugation, connection whatever it is. It reeks of "under-educated."

Impact: Okay, my mom alerted me to this one, how it is overused and often misused. And I agree ... not just because Moms are always right, but because this is true. Impact is used almost exclusively to replace the word affect, or to have an effect. Why? Because it gives it a punchier-sounding monologue. It is used commonly in the news, when describing everything under the sun, and now, it's overused. I don't want things to impact me. That could be detrimental. But if they affect me, maybe it's more manageable because it's more of a trickle adjustment. Just because it sounds edgier, doesn't mean it should be used.

That goes for all three of these. These all have to do with sounding cool. Why in the world does this matter? Especially when all it does it make you sound like everyone else?

Okay. That's my ranting. Now, for something useful. Do you like Guideposts Magazine? Ever thought of writing for them? Well you can. They take short, real-life stories and anecdotes about holidays, angels, devotions,  miracles, prayers. Check out this link. They make it very easy to submit material. So give it a shot. Have a real-life miracle happen to you? Have you experienced angelic visitations? What about encouraging stories about surviving and thriving through trials? Has God helped you through a tough spot? Guideposts is the place for you.

This is a great way to get published, even if only online and not in their magazine. Just remember NOT to tell a story about the impact an epic event had on you to love on somebody.

Cheers.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rankings

It's pretty fun pretending to be one of the bigwigs. Because truthfully, I'm so far from it.


Really hard to see, but my book is # 57 between
The Yearling and The View from Saturday.
When I list my book free for a day on Amazon -- and every self-pubbed author can attest to this -- you turn into this "top-selling" author ... but only temporarily. When a book is free, people tend to take it. Great. That equals thousands of "sales" for me. (Unpaid sales).

But the hours and days immediately after the book is free are filled with stragglers. They're the ones who check to see if the book is still free, see it isn't, and still buy it.

Those stragglers make me a super-author, because their purchase turns me into a "Top 100 paid children's book" in the classic, or social situations category, in which my book sits on Amazon.

Where else can my dinky, little book place next to the top rankings of Bridge to Terabithia, or The Yearling, or Because of Winn-Dixie? Never, usually. But, when I sell more than enough, I'm right up there with the best-sellers. All of them. Newberry Medal winners and Honor Books too.

This is all so hilarious and surreal.

It's funny because:

1. I'm so not a top-selling author. Really I'm not.
2. I published this book ... not a publisher. How the heck did my book get on this list? The reader did it.
3. I am the agent, editor, book-formatter and publicist. Again, how did I do this? The reader did it.
4. I offered the book for free, just to get this ranking. Sounds a little wrong, but is a lot right.
5. I haven't read half the books in the top 100 list I'm in. So lame. That needs to change.
6. I really feel like a fraud. No really, I do. Who am I again?
7. I love being up there with authors who write amazing stuff. That's a good funny, but still funny.
8. Just like the Sesame Street song, "one of these things to do not belong here." Oh yeah, me.
9. I did this all on my own. Wait, didn't I already say that?
10. I will only stay on that list for a couple of days at best. Really hilarious, because best-selling authors stay on this list for years!

So, it only lasts for a few days, but to be a pretend "top-selling" author sort of makes me actually feel like an author. And heck, if that's not enough motivation to write, then I don't know what is.

Keep writing!